Karen Foldy recently hosted a semester-long Sabbath-keeping group through Asbury Theological Seminary’s Sabbath Experience. We took this opportunity to ask her about her Sabbath-keeping journey.
What prompted your desire to start keeping a Sabbath?
I have always wanted to be obedient to the command to keep the Sabbath, and I wanted to take this opportunity to get into the habit.
What have been some of the biggest obstacles or challenges?
Part of my own personal keeping of the Sabbath involved being away from the TV, computer, internet, and phone for that 24-hour period. Because everyone has come to expect us to be available 24/7 through email, texting, and the cell phone, it has been challenging to get others to remember that I’m attempting to not be available during that time unless it is for an emergency. Because I have a teenage daughter and my mom is in poor health, I don’t have the option to shut my phone off, so the telephone can still be an interruption to that time regardless of my good intentions.
Secondly, because I was facilitating the group and hosting it at my house the majority of the time, I had to be very intentional about getting things done ahead of time so that my Sabbath could truly begin with our group meal. Some of the planning actually caused the days leading up to my Sabbath to be more hectic than usual.
What scripture, community accountability, or practices have helped you overcome these challenges?
For the most part, my family and close friends honored my request to not talk on the phone, text, or email during my Sabbath time. But, sometimes they would forget or truly need something during that time period. I had to accept the fact that God understands those “animal in the ditch” situations and doesn’t expect or want me to be legalistic about keep the Sabbath.
Spending time reading Scripture, praying, resting, and reading for pleasure helped me to focus on entering into a rest within my spirit and not just my physical body during my Sabbath time.
What, if any, benefits have you noticed in your physical, mental, and spiritual health since you began keeping a Sabbath?
Matthew Sleeth, in his talk during Chapel, mentioned that many of Christ’s healings took place on the Sabbath. I was prayed for twice during one of our Sabbath meals, and x-rays show that one of my legs grew 5mm at that time. I have had issues with my hip due to one leg being shorter for over 10 years now. I will be honest and state that the healing is not complete (still have pain and still shorter by a remaining 5mm on that side), but the miracle itself increased my faith and has given me courage to believe that God will finish what He has begun.
How has Sabbath keeping affected your marriage, your family, and/or your ministry?
I have been leading a ladies Bible study on Monday nights, and I loved having Sunday to rest, reflect, and prepare for it.
If you could share one encouragement with others, what would it be?
This won’t be easy, and there will be obstacles to overcome, and no two weeks will look the same. But knowing that you are being obedient to God’s command and entering into His rest will be worth all the efforts you go to in order to participate.
Karen Foldy is the Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of Community Formation as Asbury Theological Seminary. She taught English for several years before serving in various ministry capacities with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. Her daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Mark Reyes, currently serve in ministry in First Alliance Church in Great Falls, Montana, and hope to eventually serve as overseas missionaries. Her younger daughter, Anna, is a sophomore at Asbury University. Karen enjoys hiking, reading, and horseback riding.